With SaaS climbing the ranks as one of the most dynamic and fastest growing industries in the business world today, breaking through the noise with well-written copy is not only best-practice– it’s necessary. In order to create an ongoing revenue stream, SaaS companies must listen to their audience and speak directly to them in a way that reflects their current pain points and solves their ongoing problems.
How can SaaS companies ensure that they are positioning their brand in a way that makes them part of the 8% that succeed – not that 92% that fail?
Alex Napier Holland, renowned SaaS and sales copywriter, is here to guide us through what it takes to create impactful copy that puts revenue on autopilot.
During this episode of Evolved Sales Live, host Jonathan Fischer sits down with Alex to discuss exactly how SaaS brands can use strategic messaging to escape features and benefits trench warfare, beat the odds, and win.
Don't forget to follow us on LinkedIn for more engaging sales insights and discussions! Happy watching!
Alex is the Founder & Saas Sales Copywriter of GorillaFlow. After selling SaaS and advertising solutions to multinational corporations, Alex transitioned into copywriting. He has since used results-driven copy to help launch products and boost revenue for more than 90 SaaS and technology brands including Adobe and Salesforce.
Check out the transcription of this webinar episode below!
Jonathan Fischer 0:00
It is time once again for evolve sales live. Welcome back. Jonathan Fisher. Software as a Service or SaaS companies make up one of the most dynamic and fast growing sectors in all of business today. In 2020, the US SAS industry was worth an estimated $108.4 billion. This figure is forecast to increase to 225 billion by 2025, an increase of over 100%. With so many new players entering the field, the competition is fierce and with 92% failing, the casualties are many. Well, if you work for one of those startups, our guest today can help you make sure your company is one of the success stories. Alex Napier Holland is the founder of Gorilla flow, a boutique businesses services firm that specializes in creating high performance sales copy capable of driving revenue on autopilot. His work has launched products and boosted revenue for more than 90 SAS companies and technology brands. And his clients include businesses of all types and sizes on five continents, including Adobe and Salesforce. In the course of serving his clients, Alex has become very close to dozens of founders and having seen their struggles firsthand. He brings a great deal of passion to the conversation, and is here to help your SAS brands escape features and benefits trench warfare, beat the odds and win. Alex, we're excited to have you on the show today.
Alex Holland 1:28
Thank you. I'm excited to be here.
Jonathan Fischer 1:31
Fantastic. Well, let's start off a little bit. I think it's interesting how you got into doing what you're doing right now you specialize, as I mentioned in the intro, in doing powerfully written sales copy for SaaS companies, but you didn't start off as a copywriter? How did you begin to get into this industry briefly tell our audience.
Alex Holland 1:47
So I come from a sales background. I studied I graduated in international relations and journalism. And I spent six years in international sales. I started with the Commonwealth Secretariat. So essentially selling boutique advertising solutions to predominantly energy companies and ministries based across Africa and Asia. That was where I found a love of international sales. So understanding how things like culture, affect the way that people think the way that people express themselves, and the kind of angling and the approach that you need to sell to them, first of all, to engage them to build rapport. I then moved into international sales for SAS brands, and I started at a at a footsie 100 and ended up leading international sales for a for an SME. So after six years of closing deals, I then switch to marketing went from a senior sales position to a junior marketing position and quickly ranked up there. And for the last three years, I've worked as a consultant specializing in SAS sales copy, specifically home pages and landing pages. So I'm a writer now, but I bring a lot of experience from the actual real world experience of negotiating, pitching and closing deals in both an enterprise and b2b environment as well. Because there's quite a difference between enterprise and b2b, but I don't think it's always appreciated.
Jonathan Fischer 3:10
Yeah, that's very true. I mean, it's it's not just a difference of scale, but there's some differences in terms of the concern, and how to apply certain kinds of principles and insights for sure. So I think it's really important for audience to understand that, you know, you don't come at this actually, as a writer first that may sound funny, but honestly, that's, that's really important, because there's plenty of great writers. But great writing isn't great sales copy necessarily, is it there's a lot that goes into making sales copy effective. And honestly, just picking your brain on that one topic alone to probably fill up our show, but we're gonna keep it focused today. And we've you've noticed a lot of things that are going wrong when it comes to the way that SaaS companies are pitching what they offer. And this is primarily found in terms of the written copy on websites, their email, communications anywhere that language is being used to convey their story. They're making some key mistakes. And you call it trench warfare. Why don't we start right there and have have you defined? What do you mean by the features and benefits trench warfare? There's so many SaaS companies are part of?
Alex Holland 4:10
Yeah, sure. Features and Benefits of trench warfare is in my view, to lead your business on a costly and an exhausting perpetual arms race, to try and defeat your competitors through superior set of rich features. With no compass mission or north star and a constant exposure to better funded development and marketing teams. I can't help but think of a Cold War as an example. I mean, what as an IR student, you look at the the spending of the USSR in America, the amount that got spent on that, that, that that engagement, how much money got plowed into that. And essentially a lot of SaaS companies are trying to do the same thing as well. We're trying to beat each other just by out featuring a problem with SS that or as many problems. The first thing is that it leads you to a very bloated product. It's very one of the last company I've ever worked at as a sales X Active AI, we had a product that was very comprehensive, it was very capable. But when essentially tried to please all of our customers, we had a reactive roadmap. And that's one of the problems here with features and benefits, trench warfare that leads people to having a reactive roadmap, trying to keep up with all of our competitors. So again, you can't really separate sales copy from product and from development. What you what you end up with is a product that has a lot of capabilities, but the UI and the UX sucks. But let built off of that for sales, copy sales as well, because it's difficult to get everything to everybody, it's difficult to make your product specific to specific to one particular audience.
So yeah, the issue of AD is you're essentially going to end up plowing a huge amount of money into development, a huge amount of money into marketing, you're fighting fires, and you know, 360 degrees, essentially, as opposed to picking off battles with one or two competitors that are actually a decent match for your product as well. There's just an underlying lack of a Northstar and mission, they're unwilling to decide which customers do we not exist for, and define that line clearly, as well. So it's very difficult to focus any of their marketing efforts are rare development efforts in the right place, and will end up being mediocre in a lot of different things. And that's true, both from the development and from the user experience, but also from the marketing side of things as well.
Jonathan Fischer 6:24
Well, it sounds like what you're saying is that you don't come at this, like it's madmen. And if you've got the right approach, and if your copy is written in such a way until such a story, you're still going to sell something that is actually garbage. You wish that you know, I'm not a big fan of the show. But I've seen enough snippets to understand that's kind of the the premise, right, that old school marketing, you could sell almost anything. If you're effective. As a marketer, you sound like you have a much more of an integrated approach with your clients where the price got to be good. And it has to be attuned in a certain way. And if I could understand what you were saying a moment ago, part of the problem, let me ask if you'd agree with this, is that it's their whole stance, not just from a product development, but also in their marketing. It's too focused on competitors, and maybe not enough on end users and clients. Is that is that part of the issue?
Alex Holland 7:13
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, what I love about SAS, the reason why I've stayed in this sector, despite opportunities outside is the sense of mission, the amount of products I work with, that are actually having a really big positive impact on people's lives. And I mean, the most exciting thing in my job is working with founders that really are motivated about having some sort of a human impact for us, some SAS products would evolve iteratively. And that's fine. There's nothing wrong with that at all. But you can't just be slinging mud at a wall and hoping that it sticks in marketing is a two way process. So on one side of things, it's great to have a particular mission, it's great to be mission focused. But even if you do think you've got a product that could change the world, you've got to listen to your customers. And it would be easy to listen to it lift this stuff, companies would exist, that have pivoted three or four times and ended up doing something very different, very original mission. Because they listened to their customers. They ran customer feedback, and they responded. And yeah, essentially, there's a there's a balance here. But it's nice balance between being mission focused, and also listening to customers as well.
Jonathan Fischer 8:21
Well, and so getting deeper on that whole subject of mission, you mentioned that that's part and parcel of your process in terms of coming up with a way to really make your clients more successful. How, how can we do that? What how does a company begin to grapple with this issue of having a mission?
Alex Holland 8:38
Yeah, I think as I alluded to, in the last question, you could roughly divide SaaS companies into two types very roughly. One is I mean, I've got a client that I'm working with at the moment, they're very physical products company, they've developed a radar system that could potentially reduce road traffic deaths differently. So you've got these very mission oriented companies from the get go, they have an idea that they think could change the world, you have the other end, which is probably where most of my friends who are founders sit, which is let's play around a bunch of different ideas. And let's see what sticks. And that's a completely valid idea. That's a fun way to approach a business. But if you're doing that, you really need to be engaging the customers, or even for friends I have who are founders. We've now moved away from a obviously a waterfall development process to Agile everybody does some form of agile nowadays, they're looking at getting customer feedback once they've launched their product. What I'm saying is, why not do that even before you've launched your product. You know, the pitch for we used to use, which quite a lot of startups uses. before you've even got a beta product, you've got your first framework together. You don't call up and say hey, I've got a product to sell. You call up and say, Hey, I understand you've got this particular problem. Is that correct? Great. I'm building something. I'm trying to build something that I think could help people like you. I'd love to get your feedback.
You don't have to give somebody a $20 amazon gift voucher, you just show a genuine, empathetic, compassionate interest in the problem that they're dealing with. And pretty much anybody, if you sound authentic, will be willing to give up an hour of their time to give you feedback on this problem they have, and you want to sell yourself. And instead of turning up with a basic framework, you've got a buggy beater. And they realize it's actually on its way to being a decent product. And one of my friends launched his CRM for charities in this manner, and two to three years later, they're on track for a seven figure valuation, because they got it in front of customers before the product even existed, just because they empathize with and connected with these charities talked about the pain points were experiencing, and they could show them their product before it even really coded it. It was just a set of screenshots at one point.
Jonathan Fischer 10:52
Well, that sounds like a powerful way to to activate it a team now you actually know there's a market. I mean, little I mean, if you're needing funding, if I can approve, there's already a market because I'm that engaged with an existing marketplace of buyers? That sounds like a very powerful stance to take. Why do you think so many are missing that?
Alex Holland 11:11
There's a variety of reasons I guess, the most cynical answer first are are some founders that are purely motivated by money, I would honestly send SaaS I think that's smaller than any, any, any, any industry that I've dealt with. There's nothing wrong with having a degree of motivation for money. But I think you've got to emphasize your customers. And it doesn't mean that, you know, some people launch products because they've worked about industry for five or 10 years, they know about audience really well, they really care about that audience, that's fine. But even if it's a brand new product, and so it's a it's an audience you've never worked with before, all you have to do is pick up the phone, all you have to do is show a genuine human interest in these people. I hate to I hate to bring up a Gary Vaynerchuk quote in a marketing, any kind of marketing podcast, but he for my sins, crush, it has one or two decent segments in it. And he said, you know, if you're not willing to spend a chunk of your time every single day, engaging in the forums for groups where your audience hang out, don't do this, go home, do something else. If you're a developer, if you're building a product, one hour a day, read it wherever they are just hanging out with these people empathize with them. The most important thing I think that any founder can do if you've got a two or three, first two, or three person company, each of you spend one day a week just picking up the phone and talking to your first customers or talking to people in your industry and just listen to their problems. You will get so many ideas for a features, but be a more importantly in some ways. The angling for features, how what's the human impact of it's every single b2b SaaS product that are made can save time and save money. So no one cares if you say that, what does saving time and saving money look like for your particular audience.
And you can pull up examples. I mean, for example, instead of save time, you can say give your support teams or evenings back. Instead of save money. You can say hire and scale faster, just like these brands did. Instead of measure your performance, you could say build a culture where great work gets celebrated. And in each case, drop a quick quick one line quote from a customer that fits that particular persona that backs that up as well.
Jonathan Fischer 13:26
Great examples I love that. I'm going to come back to the whole thing about some of your your tips and tricks for copywriters that might be listening as well. So I'll plant that seed and we'll we'll circle back. So so we're let's say we're so we're more interacting with our either our audience as it exists now or if we're really radical, get out there and find out about them ahead of time. I love that model. What's next? How else do you need to grapple with, you know, having a mission and make sure you can, you know, when this whole trench warfare thing that you were talking about?
Alex Holland 13:57
Yeah, I mean, I'd essentially break this up into two stages. The first one is winning features and benefits trench warfare. And there's two parts to that. The first is really building customer research into your culture. So the first the first, the first issue is some brands don't do customer research at all. And I tell them do it right now if you need help hire a copywriter. And never ever hire a copywriter that doesn't talk about strategy and customer research. Any sales copywriter should be talking about those two things. So yeah, do sales copy is a one time event to get started. And a sense Sorry, do customer research as a as a one time event. And that can be done in two ways. One is to do customer surveys, which are great for scale. So sending out a Google form asking people for example. How do you discover our product? Why did you choose us over our competitors? What's the business impact of our product and crucially, how does it feel to have a product in your life? Those sorts of question streams open ended questions, because even in b2b sales, yes, there are certain things like, yes, this product achieves compliance with GDPR. This product can achieve compliance with these particular financial reporting regulations. But there's always a human being at the other end that wants to understand how it will make their life better in some way. The thing of b2b that defines that against b2c is its multi stakeholder. So we have to do this for you know, someone in accounting somebody in C suite, we have to do it for the end user.
The second way that we do customer research is using interviews. So I use interviews more for depth. So I might do a customer survey to 200 250 customers. And then I might do interviews for 10 customers potentially. And I pull those quotes in, I organize them into each stage of a purchase journey, from a customer evaluating your product through to choosing it through to using it. That gives us a lot of Intel, then for our marketing activities. But the second thing I'd say varies once you've done it, it's a one time event, you want to be building customer research into your into your business on an ongoing basis. One thing that really worries me is when you look at agile as a look at agile as a concept is a development process. This stuff should happen in Agile. So what worries me is when marketers aren't doing customer research, there's one of two possibilities here. One is that developments doing product research and marketing don't know about it. Well, that's bad because they're siloed. But that's easy to fix. The bigger problem here a really real worry is that product development aren't doing customer research. No one is doing customer research. And people are building features that haven't been put in front of customers. That's terrible. You're not doing Agile properly if you're not doing customer research. So that leads me on to my second point, which is
customer research shouldn't just be about marketing. This is about unifying and on siloing marketing, customer support, development sales. The interesting and ironic thing is that I find big companies are worse at this. Big companies often are so heavily funded, they disappear under a mountain of marketing metrics. They can talk about clicks and engagement, and maybe marketing qualified leads on a good day. But you ask them, How much revenue Have you actually generated from each campaign, and they can't do that. I could name a lot of smaller companies that are much better at telling you how much money their campaigns are generated.
So yeah, I think I think buying into customer research and customer engagement is an ongoing business wide process, which unify every department in your in your company is huge. And if you do all of these things, you're going to end up with not just features and benefits oriented copy. But features and benefits oriented copy that is relatable and humanistic. I can give a case study here.
There is a real estate SaaS brand I work with in North America, in Canada, the biggest in North America as it stands. They have a an application that before their product came in, they had four or five different desktop apps that were badly integrated and clunky, various horrible API's. And their sales reps would be working all weekend, a lot of time and two different sales reps at something like before I use this product, I would often miss out on weekends, I would end up upsetting my wife and my kids. Now I have his app, I can leave work on Friday early and go camping of the kids and check my mobile app twice. So we're not selling a business benefit here. We're not talking about KPIs or ROI, we're telling somebody, we can give you a weekend back that blows any business benefit out of the water. When you can take a business product and start talking to people about feelings and emotions and family time and making their life better in a very human and relatable way. They're doing great. But there's a second step to this. This is all to do with winning features or benefits to trench warfare. The next level is escaping features and benefits trench warfare. We do that with positioning. So that saying who is our one who is our company? Who is our brand, who is our business, what is our brand? Who do we stand for? Who are the customers that we serve. So when somebody lands on your page, just the headline and the explainer alone, if we get it really right, they think that's me. This company exists just for me and for people like me. So yeah, I'd say always start with a customer research, use that to develop more humanistic and relatable features and benefits. But the more that you do that, start asking yourself, what's the common thread here? What is the relatable human impact that our business is having? What are we doing to people's lives? And if you haven't already got a mission yet? Can you develop a mission? Because you can go out into the world have your own mission and but you can equally get a mission given to you when your customers keep telling You, because you're talking to him and you're listening to them, your customers are telling you, this is what you did to us, this is what you did to our lives, you can define your own mission based on that as well by finding out how your products impacted them.
Jonathan Fischer 20:13
Well, that's very powerful stuff. And that kind of that, again, that level of interaction requires a real commitment on the part of the founders and the leadership. I also liked what you said about being siloed, and having separate departments. And that does certainly seem to be a common feature among some of the larger players. Now, in some of our private conversation, you mentioned to me that there are other advantages that some smaller players may have over their big behemoth well known name brand competitors, what are some of those as well? Like if we're comparing marketing departments, for example, what Why could it be an advantage to be smaller?
Alex Holland 20:49
I think one of the biggest and again, my reference point here, most of my friends are founders, rather than developers. A lot of my friends are in the maker scene, Bali, and Thailand, a lot of those guys running their own businesses, agility, they're ridiculously agile, if you're a one person bear, a one man band, or if you're a 10 person business or a 15, person size business, and you speak to your customers, you speak to a number of different customers and essentially do what I did when I was leading sales for a an SME with only 1520 people, I would come back into the office and I'd say, right, I've just spoken to the third customer in the last two months that wants this particular feature we're not developing until two years from now. Can I please have a sit down? Let's talk to development. And the key thing here for sales guys should not need to be told, but you never promised features in a meeting. I mean, basic, always say, Okay, I understand this is a product for you'd like let me go and speak to the guys in development. We'd sit down and we look at the product roadmap and think you know how much revenue is tied to each of these features. And I'll tell them, there's three different companies here. There's 200, grand and a line, if we could get this particular feature in, you know, before the end of the year. And a smaller companies gov add ability to a break for silo, have everybody sitting around one table, I'm not going to drop in with Jeff Bezos quote about two pizzas in one room. But we all know, you can get everybody in the same room, you can talk, you can hash things out, and you can switch for product roadmap around. That's both because the company's smaller, but also culturally as well. I think agility is more of a it's a cultural thing as well, the the not getting too tied into a single way of doing things or a fixed set of ideas, being willing to challenge what it is your business does and how it operates. See, I think agility is the main thing that smaller companies have going for them.
Jonathan Fischer 22:47
Well, yeah, and one of our guests put a comment here that small and medium enterprises rock they take tick to action, take action 10 times faster. Yeah. And yeah, Thanks, Andrew. I think you're right on the money there. And that's all what's all about, especially when the market is in such a growth mode, I mean, a curve of doubling within the next three years. That's pretty amazing. So let me let me circle back then. So what else can can, Can the smaller players do?
Alex Holland 23:15
And maybe you could include in that, you know, you kind of a freer hand, I've noticed this as well, in a smaller company, in areas like your marketing, creativity, and developing a voice and marketing were some of the bigger corporate brands, they seem a little bit a little bit more. I don't know what the right word is, but it almost seems like they're scared. Like they're gonna mess that up. And you get this more stodgy, conservative approach. And I think that liberality, being able to play a little bit in this space really speaks to the whole range of marketing efforts, but especially copywriting. Speak to that a little bit. Would you our audience members, I'm certain includes people that are involved in copywriting. What are some additional insights tips you could give as one of the better practitioners in the art yourself? Yeah, I mean, the first thing I mentioned earlier was simply picking up a phone daily talk trying to talk to your customers. I think those Well, being more playful, having more fun, and being willing to poke a little bit of fun, a bad and outdated ideas, poking a bit of fun at maybe, maybe even some people who you don't want to work with. A good example here recently that I spotted that I liked was toggle. I reckon most people following this falling with conversation of use toggle time tracking app, I use it. They have a page the other day, that basically said do you want to spy on your on your employees? We're not for you. We don't we don't develop features for for managers who want to spy on our employees. We don't believe in that. We believe that people should be free to focus on productive work output. So I think defining, you know, who's our club who is our little group who's arguing, and if there is, if you can grow your business into new verticals, that's great, but there might be certain groups out there where they have incompatible ideas. I mean, one particularly contentious discussions around might work, for example, a lot of SaaS brands are taking remote work as an opportunity to pitch their tent. We support remote work, we support teams and businesses that are remote. And we're open and going to make fun of people and businesses that won't go remote as well. So being willing to be a little bit provocative, obviously, while being respectful, you can be a bit cheeky, but yeah, poking fun at outdated ideas. I mean, I'm very bullish on remote work. I love remote work. So a big impact on my life. And I'll poke fun at people who are trying to get everybody back into the office again. I mean, I've got clients of mine who disagree with me on that, but that's fine. We like each other. We can be respectful around it. But I think having a bit of a sense of humor as well. And yeah, I think that's pretty helpful. So having a sense of humor can be seriously helpful as what you're trying to say. Yeah, it's just doing it in a way that that's tactful, and pitching yourself to look at the idea. What are the biggest ideas of that moment that are defining society? So obviously out of COVID, we've got for remote work, hybrid work, returned to the office conversation and debate and yeah, that's a lot of SAS brands have been pitching their tentpole, where do we sit in this particular divide? Because that's a way to show customers who you are, what your mission is, and what your values are. And somebody who's very bullish on remote work will say, You know what, these two products are very similar. But this particular one, they share our values, they share our mission, they want to be for remote brands, for example. And we're going to work we're going to work with those guys. Because I think part of having a mission as well as thinking, what does the future look like? What do I think the future will look like? And where does my business sit within that future as well? It's a bit of a gamble in that as well. And that's a good opportunity for storytelling as well.
Jonathan Fischer 26:41
Excellent. Well, it's been a great conversation already. Alex, we're going to move over to q&a here in just a minute. But Alex, you've extended a really gracious offer to all of our audience members today. Why don't you share with our listeners what they can do to go further with what you've got to offer in terms of successful copywriting?
Alex Holland 26:58
Sure, thanks, Jonathan. If anybody would like to get a 50 minute breakdown or teardown of their homepage, or landing page, or record a loom for you points out any, any any customer experience or particular copy, copy factors of your of your homepage, your landing page, it could be improved, I think the sales copy could be improved for layout for design, anything that I think could potentially help boost your conversions, feel free to visit me at gorilla flow.com. And just use a contact form and just mentioned you'd like to get a free 15 minute landing page or homepage breakdown. I'll be happy to get our recording sent over to you in seven days. No obligation at all. If it's helpful. That's great. If you wanted to talk to me about anything after that, regarding working on it. i That's That's fine as well. But yeah, those strings.
Jonathan Fischer 27:53
Oh, that's awesome. Really appreciate that. Well, as I mentioned, we're gonna get to q&a on one moment, but not before we remind everybody that our show as always is sponsored by overpass.com. Need to build a team of remote sales professionals fast as the leading solution for finding finding and hiring pre vetted talent. Overpass makes building a high quality team fast and easy. With 1000s of qualified candidates to choose from. You can filter by industry and experience at lightning speed interview and hire in as little as two days. create your free account today at overpass.com.
All right, well, let's get into some q&a. We've got some questions coming in from our audience and folks keep them coming.
So this interesting question from Andrew elenberg. He's asked this what role does storytelling play in business communications is something that we didn't really unpack much if at all in the show. Tell us about that, if you would,
Alex Holland 28:49
Alex. That's a great question. Actually. This is something I've thought about quite a bit. I am slightly I wouldn't say I'm bearish or skeptical of storytelling storytelling. I think it's done badly a lot of the time. I think the storytelling works when you make it about your customer. Storytelling doesn't work when you make it exclusively about you. If you can tell your story. It might be ostensibly about you be related back to your audience Finicum work so yeah, I think storytelling can work well Vinay. We've been assessed brands website particularly on the if you go to an about page, shout out to a nother copywriter. Joe clicky is a very good copywriter that I'm friends with. He's talked about about pages quite a bit. He's got some good content on there, if you stick it stick his name into Google, essentially using an about page but could previously be used for just telling a story that brags about your brand or brags about your accomplishments, but instead using that to build relatability. So I think storytelling can be a really powerful tool, but just always think about how does this benefit or relate to my audience, even if it's about your life about reason? is where he started the business about four reasons why you build product. That's great. Just always think about how that can help them why your audience might care how it might help them buy into your, your mission, your values. So yeah, storytelling can definitely build empathy. But if it's done in a, in a two way manner,
Jonathan Fischer 30:20
I've got a follow up question of my own all along that line. Do you think that the storytelling is best done in first person? Is it done more corporately? How playful should that be? Like, is there is the whole range? Good? Are you finding certain things work better than others?
Alex Holland 30:36
I mean, it depends on the size of the business. I mean, I guess it'd be a given if you're a solo maker, is going to be the first person. If you're a much larger company, it's inevitably going to be third person in between. There's a little bit of a gradient there. It depends. Yeah, it depends on the size of a company. I don't think there's a hard and fast rule there. What was the second you asked about humor, didn't you? Yeah, like so. So you could tell the story itself? That comes back to the whole question of using humor last year? I mean, I guess I could see some risks there. You know, it can seem trite. It could seem like it's not as effective depending. So I'm wondering how that would, how that would impact.
Jonathan Fischer 31:28
Okay, so it looks like we had an issue now, I'll fill in a little bit here, we've got a couple of the questions we'd like to get some answers to. And Alex is in true digital nomad form, he hails from London, one in England. And in case you would never guessed that from his accent, but he's not in London right now. He's in a far eastern location. And there must have been an issue there with internet, hopefully, you'll be able to jump back in. And in the meantime, I did notice that there were some interesting questions here, from the audience, about like how important the user interface is based on some of that feedback.
And how much how much the actual features and benefits play against the outcomes in terms of our marketing and messaging may be going deeper on that as well. I'm gonna give Alex about another minute or so to get get back with us here. And if he's not able to jump back on, what I will do, folks is we will, I'll get those answers to your questions myself. And it becomes okay.
Alex Holland 32:23
Not sure which one of us Well, here we are.
Jonathan Fischer 32:25
Well, we're, I threw you under the bus, man. It's you. Yeah, but it's okay. It's okay. It's it's technology. We love it when it works. Right. So yeah, without without any further hindrance I'll just mentioned the other question that I that stood out to me hear from Andrew is he was wondering, how much does UI play in and I'm sorry, wasn't for Andy that was from Dennis was wondering, because he he resonated with the idea of doing the customer interviews. The company were Dennis works, here's his question. And he was wondering, does user interface, you know, really play a big role when it comes to the UK market competitiveness? Is that in other words, what I'm seeing Dennis, you can correct me the chat. What I'm hearing in your question is, if it's not about the features of benefits, trench warfare, how much does just user experience help us in that particular battle? Maybe that's what he's getting at?
Alex Holland 33:14
Yeah, I mean, I would, or interface rather. Yeah, I mean, I've got more I've worked with a number of UX consultants more than more than UI in particular. I mean, it depends on maturity of a product. I think that if you're, you know, if you're if you're just about to launch a product far less so if you are, yeah, I think the more mature a product is for more, the more important your user experience is going to become absolutely. Your if you're calling up customers who are highly engaged who are have have a very strong level of what we call the two main factors in sales, copywriting are problem awareness and solution awareness. They really dictate how people engage with copy, someone has a high level of problem awareness and a high level of solution awareness for very likely to use your product values and enjoy your product when it's buggy, from the user experiences and refined as your product becomes more mature, and you've picked up and cleared out most of the people who have that strong high level of problem and solution awareness. You're trying to get more customers on board at that point, who necessarily aren't super pumped about it, who's slightly more cautious. And that's when stuff like optimizations, user experience become more valuable. I think you get your low hanging fruit early on people who are going to be really early movers. I mean, I think part of it's about how much we want your product, but also the kind of culture. So small businesses are often more willing to use products that aren't necessarily polished because they love the brand. They love the mission you want to sell to be to be but especially enterprise price, I mean, enterprise is a complete nightmare that I don't think most people actually want to deal with in terms of SLAs but you're trying to do b2b sales for example, you get more and more RFQs for example, having to fill out spreadsheets explaining how your product works, how well it works. And I think poor user experience is likely to sink you more, the more mature that you get, the more that you're selling to larger organizations.
Well, and so I think the logical follow on to that, I'm starting to think in terms of like a phased rollout, right. So if we took the model that you seem to be posting is an ideal model, we've already done a research before we even have the first developers starting work. So we have it kind of at least it's it's on a whiteboard somewhere, or it's wireframe out somewhere. And then we get we're developing iteration one. And that's because we're in close touch with our users. We know what features and benefits they're gonna definitely want. But the UI may not be the first priority. We want, make sure the thing works well, it doesn't have downtime doesn't is not glitchy. Right, then. So that's like phase two and away really, Phase One was the research phase two is the first build iteration one, then in phase three, if I'm hearing what you just said, Now, you're saying that is worth taking a look now All right, is the user interface, where it's spot on needs to be? And maybe I'm just I'll ask the question, I can guess the answer. Maybe that's a whole different round of then research with your users at that point, is that correct? Yeah, I mean, there's the the the famous quote, and again, most of my friends are developers. So a lot of what I do is just crosseyed information between the two, if you're not embarrassed by the first version of your product launch too late. I like that a lot. You have bits of cardboard and strings and wires hanging off it. Because I mean, obviously, it's better to have a polished product. The point is that you want to be getting in front of people when it's barely working simply because you can create a more relevant product. Yeah, I would absolutely. I for you're going to mention polishing a product in the second phase. And I'm glad you didn't, because that would very much be third, at the very least your first is just getting in front of people, getting your first customers by any means possible. So you can afford to eat. Yes, and there, it's about getting enough features into the product so that it can perform the things we need it to do. And at that stage, I mean, the sales pitch we used to use was, if you join up, join our our product right now. So if you join our SaaS right now, if you start using our product, you have a unique opportunity to shape the future of our product, which is a great way of saying it's half built, please buy it now before we finish making it.
Don't make cardboard and duct tape. Yeah, just step over those boxes over there in the corner. But that's one way to frame it basically, as you've got this unique opportunity to develop our products that people won't have later. And yeah, UI is very important. And I'm very bullish on user experience. In general, I like polished products. I'm a kind of person, I love dark mode. I love having the little app icon, but I can switch to a black version of an icon because I like everything to be monochrome. And that's me as a as an end user. But as a marketer, I know that if you know, again, people say if you're adding dark mode before you've got customers, you're doing it wrong. Yeah. You know, you if people think you're most passionate people that you've really honed in on, and you've got your product really addressing their needs, they won't care if it's polished, don't care if it's got dark mode, but as your product expands, and you are trying to sell it to bigger a large professional organizations, yeah, there are certain features you will need and your why optimizations will have to be made to
Jonathan Fischer 38:10
Yeah, yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Love it. Well, and I think that the there's an appeal in being a part of that 10%, early adopter cohort, right?
Alex Holland 38:20
That like those, those of us who are part of that group that yeah, we get we got to be part of building the whole thing that all sudden people, certain people, right, yeah, definitely for certain people. I mean, if you're trying to pitch a hospital, for example, I'm it's a software they're using to run their life support machines? Probably not. But yeah, I mean, absolutely, particularly creative tools. If you're selling a creative tool, for example, something like figma. I'm sure they probably had some extremely passionate early users, where the product working isn't necessarily life and death. It's just something fun and relatable. Yeah. And it works well.
Jonathan Fischer 38:57
Yeah, absolutely. Well, great stuff. Well, we we could probably continue on even longer. But Alex, you've been gracious with your time, and we're grateful to have you with us today. I can see having you back down the road. Thanks so much for being with us on our show today. A reminder to everybody who is with us. Don't forget, we're here every single week at the same time, same station. And next week, we're going to have a topic about how to better manage your remote sales team, especially in a social selling world. We've had a lot of conversation in recent show episodes about how to handle the social selling. But there's this missing piece of how you do it when you've got these remote workers that are all around the globe. They may be fractionally marginal, managed. How can you actually implement in the social selling space? We've got a fantastic expert on that topic coming next week. Nick Kaposi for his second visit, so don't miss it.
All right. Well, once again, Alex, thanks a lot. Someone said Dr. Freeze got you earlier. Good line. That's that. That's the dad joke of the episodes. Thanks Dennis. So I know your dad even if I didn't know you were dead now I do know it and thanks for being with us for the whole crew here Alex audience thanks for being here that's gonna do it for us have a great rest of your weekend Take care everybody Thank you
Alex Holland 40:11